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Covered Decks: Protection and Beauty

Decks are favorite Summer time hangouts; but the fun can be spoiled when it rains or the sun beats down. With the protection of a covered deck, you can still enjoy the summer even at its hottest or in the rain. Not only do covered decks provide valuable shelter and shade, but they give your backyard and home a brand-new look.

Partially and Completely-Covered Decks

When it comes to covered decks, they can either be completely or partially covered. Completely covered decks are good choices for those who want to avoid the sun's rays as much as possible. Having a deck contractor install a partially covered deck is a great idea for several reasons. First, there are days when even the biggest sun worshippers need a little shade. Having a partially covered deck is great when you want to take a break from sunbathing or when the temperature is too high to enjoy sitting out in the sun. A partially-covered deck is also a great way to make your outdoor furniture and barbeque last longer by protecting them from the elements.

Covered Decks: Roof Styles

The roofs of most covered decks are supported by posts that are often the same color and material as the deck itself. When it comes to covered decks, there are a variety of roof styles available. Some covered decks have a pergola-style roof, which provides some shade but does not totally block the sun or rain. Often, however, the roofs of covered decks are solid structures, much like you would find on a verandah.

Covered decks often have flat roofs or gable roofs. Like the supporting posts, covered deck roofs can be constructed of the same material as the deck (usually wood or composite material). Asphalt, ceramic, metal, or other types of roof tiles may be used, and this is often dependent on the type of roof tiles that appear on the house.

Covered Decks Can Be Private Areas

One aspect that people overlook during the deck design and installation process is the amount of privacy that their deck will provide, and that can be a mistake. If there's a hot tub on your deck, for example, feeling like all the neighbors can see you definitely isn't a pleasant feeling. Covered decks, however, can provide a greater feeling of privacy than regular decks. Solid, high railings and a relatively low, solid roof will give you the feeling of being in your own private room.


Outdoor Kitchen Designs: Turning Up the Heat on Outdoor Design

Outdoor kitchens are no longer outdoor side projects. They are extensions of the home. From colossal grills to grandiose brick ovens, outdoor kitchens are often more elaborate than their indoor counterparts. And why shouldn't they be? Increasingly, homeowners are discovering that outdoor kitchens make the lawn more than just a chunk of grass.

With the multitude of variables that go into creating an effective outdoor kitchen it is difficult to know where to start the planning process. Functionality should be the primary goal. After functional capabilities are determined, the outdoor kitchen design should follow. The design will influence what materials go into installation and the accessories that will be included in the final space.

Outdoor Kitchen Functionality

Outdoor kitchens should be convenient and easily accessible. Ideally, the outdoor space would reflect the indoor space. No appliance would be neglected. The end user would have not only a grill, stovetop, and oven, but also a sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator. However, for most homeowners this is out of the construction budget. Therefore, before installation begins, homeowners should prioritize the conveniences that they want incorporated into their final outdoor kitchen design.

Homeowners should always plan ahead. Uprooting flooring and installing new plumbing and electricity is expensive. If the plans include future development, the groundwork for changes should be laid from the outset of construction.

Don't short spend on appliances. Although it seems counterintuitive, more expensive appliances will actually be cheaper in the long run after maintenance is taken into consideration. Invest in the proper framework in order to avoid unseen future costs.

Outdoor Kitchen Design

An outdoor kitchen design should incorporate all functional components under a common theme or concept design. Typical themes include contemporary, Tuscan, tropical, and old European. The theme will affect the choice of the overhead shelter, the flooring materials, and the shape and exterior of the outdoor kitchen fixtures.

The center piece of an outdoor kitchen design is usually the grill. Depending on the size of the family or the number of frequent guests, a grill top can range from 27" to 48". Other elements that go into outdoor kitchen design include channeling the flow of foot traffic, separating distinct spaces with aesthetic accessories, and influencing mood through outdoor lighting.

Outdoor Kitchen Accessories

Thematic accessories enhance the livability of an outdoor kitchen. The most ornate spaces are furnished with full dining room sets, upholstered furniture, and wall-mounted televisions. Of course, those are not necessities. To save on outdoor accessories consider crafty alternatives. Try constructing a fire pit and finding unworn used furniture at resale venues.

The only limit to constructing a functional outdoor kitchen is the homeowner's imagination. Nearly all designs can be installed on a budget. Do-it-yourself kits and personal installation reduce labor costs. Natural stones can be collected with a little effort to reduce material costs. It only requires a little planning and dedication.


Tips for Outdoor Fire pit Maintenance

If you're in the market for an outdoor fire pit, you've got many options. From the ultra-portable and sometimes semi-disposable chiminea to the traditional stone-built fireplace, homeowners make a series of decisions about their needs to select an outdoor fire pit. Maintenance issues figure high on the list of issues that a homeowner thinks about when considering an outdoor fireplace for a lawn or patio. Outdoor fire pit contractors can help make decisions on what's best for your yard or patio according to use and style.

Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance: Chimineas

These portable ovens have become fashionable for porches or patios. There are obvious benefits of selecting a chiminea for an outdoor fireplace. They can be easily moved and are not a large investment.

Chimineas come in many shapes, sizes, colors and materials. To consider maintenance for a chiminea, think about what happens to each material over time.

Clay chimineas don't need a lot of maintenance, but they're easily broken. Copper tends to turn green. Both should be kept covered to avoid damage from water.

Cast iron chimineas last a long time if well maintained. A good thick coat of paint will keep your cast iron outdoor fireplace in good condition.

Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance: Fire Pits

The fire pit is a great choice for many yards and patios. Table-style fire pits are also portable, and the design gives you a more dispersed heat pattern.

But fire pits can also be pretty high-maintenance. You'll have to take care of the burned materials to prevent embers and soot from being strewed all over your patio space. A few tips will help you out on this.

Keep the fire pit in a place where it won't be knocked over, away from high traffic areas, and away from winds, which can carry your residual ash across your yard. It also helps to buy a heavier model that might stand up better to the elements.

If you fire pit is on the patio and exposed to rain, empty it promptly after use. Rain storms will carry your ash across your space in streaks and puddles.

A metal fire pit needs a lot of the same care as a chiminea. You'll want to prevent rust by applying sealer or paint, and clean out the trap every once in awhile.

Outdoor Fireplace Maintenance: Stone or Brick

When considering an outdoor fireplace, homeowners can also choose to go with the traditional option. A stone or brick standing fireplace is an altogether different kind of buy than the portable types, but it comes with its own benefits, giving properties authenticity and historic appearance. There's no substitute for a well-built stone or brick fireplace in your yard or open space, but at some point, whether it's in 10, 50 or 100 years, the project will eventually need a major overhaul. If you're confused about design, fire pit contractors can help you with outdoor fireplace and fire pit ideas.

When it comes to maintenance for a stone or brick outdoor fireplace, a few tips apply. Consider how well your mortar will stand up to the elements over time: less porous, tougher materials will keep your project solvent longer.

Another thing to consider is the relative pointing of the project. "Pointing" refers to maintaining the mortar in between the bricks or stones. Some stone projects can be easy to point, but generally, brick is a more straightforward design.

Your Outdoor Fireplace Project

For more on what other homeowners have done to incorporate an outdoor fireplace into their property, check out outdoor fire pit photo galleries or talk to a fire pit contractor to get ideas for your own project.


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